PKK raid kills three officers near Syria

PKK raid kills three officers near Syria

HATAY - Anatolia News Agency
PKK raid kills three officers near Syria

The two heavily injured troops are brought to the emergency room in Dörtyol district hospital. The funerals of the fallen officers will be sent to their hometowns today. AA photo

Three high ranking military officers were killed in an attack by suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) yesterday, on the outskirts of Mt. Amanos near the Syrian border in the southern province of Hatay.

Four militants were also captured dead later on, after security forces launched a hot pursuit operation to track down the militants.

The militants attacked the gendarmerie forces with rocket launchers in the vicinity of Kuzuculu in Hatay’s Dörtyol district, according to reports. Maj. Erhan Dikmen, Lt. Aytaç Kaya and Lt. Ahmet Tarım were killed, while two troops were heavily injured.

Authorities responded by dispatching a large number of ground troops and police to the region as part of a sweeping operation. Some 500 troops, including 350 commandoes and 100 special operations police consequently arrived in the region to locate the militants responsible for the attack.
Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were also deployed in the area to scan the militants’ escape routes, according to reports.

Families devastated

Hearing the news reporting the death of Maj. Erhan Dikmen, his father Mehmet Dikmen said his son had previously been injured in clashes with the PKK in the southeastern province of Şemdinli. “My son left us quite young, long live our country,” he said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a message to Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Necdet Özel to offer his condolences over the killing of the three soldiers.

Erdoğan also expressed his sorrow over the soldiers’ deaths in his message to the country’s top general, according to an announcement issued by the prime ministry.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also offered his condolences to the families of the victims through a written message.

Officials have announced that a ceremony was held at the Provincial Gendarmerie Command at 10:30 for the three fallen officers. Funerals will then take place in the officers’ hometowns in the central province of Kırıkkale, the eastern province of Elazığ and the western province of Kütahya.

Other operations

Mt. Amanos has been the site of several attacks by the PKK in previous years. In 2008, PKK members killed two police officers in the area, while in May 2010 six troops were killed by the PKK in another rocket launcher attack. Seven PKK members were captured dead in April 2011 in the area in clashes with the Turkish military.

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